How to sell a house with Japanese knotweed?

Published by Property Saviour
The UK's No.1 Fast House Sale Company

February 14, 2016 - Read time: 3 minutes

How to sell a house with Japanese knotweed? 1

How to sell a house with Japanese Knotweed.  How to spot Japanese Knotweed, how to beat it, and why lenders make it difficult for you to sell your property with Japanese Knotweed.  The Environment Agency described Japanese Knotweed as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”.  Japanese Knotweed can destroy properties whether they are made of concrete, bricks or stone.  Previous estimates suggest that up to 5% all of UK properties are affected by Japanese Knotweed.  The definition of affected properties means that the property has Japanese Knotweed in its ground or within its close proximity such as neighbouring properties having Japanese Knotweed.

The good news is that you can sell your property with Japanese Knotweed to a specialist like Property Saviour.  We buy properties affected by Japanese Knotweed. To see how we can help make an online enquiry with us today by calling 0113 320 6700.

What does Japanese Knotweed look like?

Spring provides a perfect time to enjoy plants that are budding into life in your garden – and to inspect for any nasty Japanese Knotweed at the same time. Japanese Knotweed leaves are heart-shaped with sprouts that have a reddish lime green colour. Fallopia Japonica – or Japanese Knotweed lies dormant in your garden during winter.

In summer, it can grow a foot a week and starts to kill all other plant life in the garden. This plant has bamboo-like growth and can shoot up to 7 feet high. The plant also flourishes with clusters of cream flower during the summer.  Buyers and lenders fear Japanese Knotweed because it can cause destruction to any residential property.  It can effortlessly grow through concrete, destroy walls, property’s foundation and drains.   It spreads fast particularly in Spring and Summer months and can be extremely difficult to kill.

The more mature the plant, the higher its roots will have spread across the property.  A mature Japanese Knotweed plant can be identified by their distinctive purple speckle, and can stand as high as 3 meters within a matter of a few weeks.  They thrive in Spring and Summer month particularly if the Summer weather has a heat wave as we are experiencing in 2018.  Towards the end of Summer, expect to see cluster of white flowers appear which bees and butterflies love for their nectar.  In the Autumn months, the leaves fall off and even the cane of plant dies down and go brown.  The root also called rhizome is naturally hidden in the soil and can be seen as orange or yellow.

Origins of Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed arrives from Japan in 1825 as ornament plant for its beauty and it was used around railway tracks within UK to protect the boundaries and act as a barrier; thanks to its fast growing attributes

It is legal to grow Japanese knotweed as long as you must it under tight control and prevent it from spreading to neighbouring gardens, and into the wild.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it very clear that ‘it is an offence to allow Knotweed to grow in the wild.’

Your council can order you to spend thousands of pounds to dig it up and destroy it if they consider it to have a ‘detrimental effect of a persistent or continuing nature on the quality of life of those in the locality’.  The UK Government website has an excellent and practical guide on how to deal with Japanese Knotweed.

How to sell a house with Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed can wreak havoc with your chances of selling your house. Many lenders will refuse to give mortgages due to the Japanese Knotweed’s destructive ways. This is because its extensive roots can penetrate deep into the ground reaching and damaging the house foundations, affecting the drainage systems and structural integrity of the walls.

A bank can ruin your hopes of selling a house if it comes across the words ‘Japanese Knotweed’ within a surveyor’s report, even if it can be seen from your garden – and it is in a field near your house or it is residing at next door neighbour’s property.

At the very least, the bank will demand a professional eradication plan that may cost upwards of £3,000, where the experts are forced to provide a lengthy guarantee against its return before a mortgage offer is made.

To sell a house with Japanese Knotweed can be very difficult.  It can take up to 5 years’ of constant treatment before Japanese Knotweed is totally eradicated from your property. A house with a previous history of having Japanese Knotweed is simply unmortgageable and difficult to sell. Just digging up Japanese Knotweed does not guarantee that it will not return, as it can grow back from its roots within weeks of being cut.

Will my property with Japanese Knotweed provide suitable security for lending purposes?

You will experience difficulties when it comes to sell your property even if it has a single plant within close proximity which includes neighbouring properties  Many lenders do not wish to take on a property that is not considered to be a suitable security.  Any solicitor will not advise their client to buy a property that may have Japanese Knotweed.  The only solution is to have it eradicated and wait at least a year, and have insurance backed guarantee to cover you when it comes to selling the property on.  This is just not possible for most sellers who are looking to sell their properties now rather than spending tens of thousands of pounds and then to wait.  This is where we come in as a specialist buyer, we can buy your property for cash.  Simply call us during office hour on 0113 320 6700.

BARCLAYS demands that you call in an expert who must be a member of the Property Care Association – and one who offers you a ten-year insurance-backed guarantee against return of Japanese Knotweed if the plant has been discovered within seven metres of the home.

Barclays will refuse to offer a mortgage until the work has been done that could costs tens of thousands of pounds.

NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY also baulks at lending against a house with a Japanese Knotweed infested garden.

Nationwide Building Society says: ‘If it is prominent less than seven metres from the house we request a specialist report about eradication before deciding whether we can lend. Even if further away we require written confirmation from the borrower they are happy to proceed with a mortgage application despite presence of the plant.’

Unsurprisingly SANTANDER is also not keen to lend against Japanese knotweed house. SANTANDER insist that you call in the expert to get rid of it completely and have tens of thousands set aside in case Japanese knotweed returns.

They say: ‘It can take several seasons of spraying with specialist chemicals to eradicate.

‘Work is often not completed before the mortgage term starts so we ask for the cost of remedial work to be held in a separate account.’

You can also learn about what makes your property unmortgageable.  Even if you have Japanese Knotweed on your property, we can still buy it as we are experienced in dealing with Japanese Knotweed and the damage that it can do.  Just make an enquiry online today to get a free no obligation cash offer.

I am selling my property with Japanese Knotweed, should I disclose this to my buyer?

The presence of Japanese Knotweed on a property can put off any buyer.  As a seller, you have to be open and honest with your potential buyer and your estate agent because you could sued by the buyer if Japanese Knotweed was discovered and you hid this fact from them.  If you have already identified Japanese Knotweed on your property even if it is a sprig or two, do not be fooled by thinking that its is a small problem as its roots can grow quickly into foundations or property’s drainage system and can cause havoc.

Most buyers are not prepared to take on liability and uncertainties that Japanese Knotweed will present.  Has the Japanese Knotweed spread from your land or property on to a neighbouring house?  Because this could result in a risk of a legal claim by a no-win-no-fee lawyer against you under “private nuisance” from your neighbour.  Japanese Knotweed can cause damage to the building and it may not be immediately obvious to spot the damage to drains and foundations of property.

Of course, the seller has a moral and legal obligation to disclose presence of Japanese Knotweed during pre-contract enquiries in a form called TA6 issued by the Law Society.  By this time, you will agreed a sale and have invested plenty of time and emotional energy and to have bad news such as your buyer pulling out of he sale of property will be the last thing you want to hear.

Estate agents also have an obligation under Consumer Protection Regulations to advise any buyer of material facts that could affect their decision to buy.  These material facts include Japanese Knotweed as one.  If you fail to disclose, then there is a very strong chance that mortgage lenders’ surveyor will recommend to the lender “NO TO LEND” against your property.

Can Japanese Knotweed penetrate concrete?

In short yes because Japanese Knotweed is worlds worst invasive species as its root system and fast growth pace can damage concrete foundations, roads, paving and even strongest of all retaining walls.  

How to kill Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed has the ability to survive temperatures of  −35 °C and can grow 23 ft. horizontally and 9.8 ft deep.  This makes removal by any digging plant extremely difficult.  As the plant re-sprouts  from its roots, the most effective method of killing is by herbicide chemicals near the flowering stage in either late summer or early autumn.

How to sell a house with Japanese Knotweed?

Selling a house with Japanese Knotweed is not a straight forward process because many buyers would run a mile away.  Only a cash house buyer is in a position to enable you to sell a house with Japanese Knotweed that’s because it will require years’ of constant treatment before the property is mortgage-able again, and can be sold normally on the open market. You can sell your Japanese Knotweed house to us as we don’t need a mortgage to buy your property.

If you need to sell a house with Japanese knotweed please make an enquiry with us today, and we are sure to help.  We will not be able to pay you the full market value depending on severity of damage caused by knotweed.

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